Skip to main content

tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  June 27, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

11:00 pm
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin with the story of n.s.a., edward snowden and the leaking of so much material with the newspaper that's been at the center of this story, "the guardian," we talk to janine gibson, u.s. editor and alan rusbridger, editor-in-chief. >> here's what we do know. we know that he was extremely, more than probably any other whistle blower in history, edward snowden was incredibly clear eyed about what was going to happen to him. absolutely a product of his generation and the digital generation as well. he knew all the stories of those that had gone before. he was well aware that he was not going to be able to remain hidden and covert and secret for
11:01 pm
the rest of his life and he wanted to control the narrative around his own exposure. he was very clear eyed about that. so that's why you had the dynamic at the beginning of of the story where we publish lead the stories very rapidly, one after the other, before he revealed his own identity. we knew time on this -- this would be a race that the -- as soon as the n.s.a. realized there was a significant leak rather than just one document that there would be attempting to track down where it had come from and edward snowden was very clear that he wanted to present his own message and reasons for doing this and why he was doing it before the discussion became about him being bull lead in high school or what an overweight loser he was or whatever this thing becomes. so given that, give than he knew he was going to be identified and he knew he would be charged and he said, you know, i accept the consequence of my actions, i know what they're going to be. >> rose: we conclude with a conversation about avatars and robots with dmitry itzkov,
11:02 pm
founder and chairman of the 2045 initiative and david hanson, robotics designer and researcher. >> we can make self-driving vehicles. we can make planes fly themselves. we can make some social robotics that create entertaining and useful interactions for things like autism therapy. but make magazines that are fully conscious, well, that is the grand ambition in the world of artificial intelligence. >> rose: we're nowhere near that. >> nowhere near. >> rose: a program note, christian lube tan was scheduled for a program this evening. that will be seen next week. tonight the editors at "the guardian" talk about the n.s.a. and edward snowden and we look at avatars of the future.
11:03 pm
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: in recent weeks, "the guardian" has been publishing some of the biggest leaks in national security his trichlt source of these leaks, former n.s.a. contractor edward snowden
11:04 pm
has been charged with espionage. he fled hong kong earlier this week. he is currently in limbo in the transit area of moscow's airport. his future remains unclear. meanwhile, the revelation continue. today "the guardian" reported that the national security agency had been collecting america's bulk e-mail data for a decade. joining me now, the editors under whose watch the leaks became public. janine gibson is the u.s. editor of "the guardian," alan rusbridger is the paper's editor-in-chief. i am pleased to have them here at this table. welcome. so my question here-- and i have no more questions-- what does "the guardian" know? >> well, we have more material and we're doing what a news organization should do, which is to sift through it, i think the reasons that mr. snowden gave it to a news organization is that he felt this whole area of oversight, this debate about the boundaries of security and privacy is not, thinks, safe?
11:05 pm
the hands of the people who should be doing that. >> rose: do you agree with that? >> well, i mean, i think that's the debate we have to have. >> rose: and the debate that was suggested by the president. >> and i think we know more than we did a month ago. he thinks that congress has been misled and the courts that are doing this are secret and are effectively rubber-stamp courts. that's his opinion. and so he's saying here's a news organization, i will give it to you, i want you to act responsibly and put things into the public domain that you think should be known about. >> rose: okay. now here's what i understand: you call him up and say i have a little story i need to talk about? >> well, actually, i texted him. >> rose: oh, you texted him. of course, of course you did. the use of telephone -- >> so old school. >> rose: (laughs) it is, i know. i said we have a little story we might want to have a chat about. >> rose: what was the little story? >> at that point i understood
11:06 pm
from glen that he had -- >> rose: glen greenwald? >> yes, that he had a significant amount of secret material and the broad -- the very broad brush of what it was and, of course, what we didn't know at that point was whether it was verified, whether we could verify the source and we were communicating by phone which, you know, is the story if anything else shows that's not a great way to be communicating. one of the great challenges of this story has been how you can communicate with reporters in many time zones when you can't really communicate by phone. so he got on a plane and came to new york and we had to look through sort of sample which turned out to be the 41-page presentation, looked at that and thought, well, that's quite a big story if it turns out to be true. and then put him and another of our reporters, ewan mccaskell, a decades long guardian reporter
11:07 pm
on the plane to hong kong. >> rose: and then he? >> and then -- >> rose: (laughs) he met edward snowden. >> you want the full thing? >> rose: yes, of course. >> well, they had two tasks. one was verify the source and second verify the material. those were the initial challenges. so we had set up a really basic code phrase for, you know, does it look good and we soon exhausted the limits of that code phrase and we got into real specifics, how could we verify what this guy was. what's his social security number? does he have a government pass. does she a parking permit? what can he have that helps us put this together. because you've seen some of the slides from like a and a really rigorous journalistic exercise. >> rose: what did you think "the guardian" had at risk? >> well, not just what is "the guardian" had at risk, when you're attacking material like this you want to make sure the
11:08 pm
story is absolutely in the public interest. that you have your reasons for publishing completely clear and every fact -- this is dense, technical material, that everything is the correct to the best of your knowledge. >> rose: do you believe the national security of the united states has been damaged? >> i do not. and we have consulted with the authorities about everything that we have published and we've invited them -- >> rose: what authoritys? >> with the n.s.a., with the white house. >> rose: so you've asked them "is this damaging to national security and is there any real reason we should not publish this"? >> we've invited specific national security concerns. we've let them know about what we're going to publish and to the specifics of which slide, which presentation or which document on which date and -- >> rose: tell me how that happens because it's interesting to me. it's come up before with other news organizations in the united states. do you go to n.s.a. authorities-- whether it's general alexander or someone else-- and say "this is what we're prepared to publish." what's the next part of the question? >> well, in this situation
11:09 pm
you're not really asking a question because you have the information. >> rose: you say "i'm going to publish this, what's your response?" >> we say "this is what we have. do you have a specific national security concern that you would like to alert us. >> rose: well, that's a question. >> yes, that is a question. or we are inviting you to raise. then we don't guarantee that we will iny from with their interpretation, what we're saying is we'd like to hear that. >> rose: and you heard it. >>. >> actually, we haven't heard national security concerns -- >> rose: they never expressed any national security specific concerns? >> uh-huh. >> i think they would rather we didn't publish any of it. >> that would be fair to say. >> rose: so we've had a similar conversation in the u.k. it bings "don't publish any of it." >> rose: we'd rather you not publish any of it. >> yeah. >> rose: but did they not say at any time "if you publish that it puts at risk the national security of great britain or the united states"? >> we've had one or two moments
11:10 pm
about specific operational things where we've -- >> rose: operational means what? >> betraying methods. i have to say, it's easier in the u.s. because there's no prior restraint in the u.s. and you have this wonderful thing called the first amendment. when we did wikileaks and i rang up the "new york times" and i said "we've got the thumb drive, you've got the first amendment, why don't we do a deal?" because some of this stuff would have been impossible in a u.k. context. so i think it starts off with -- as an easier conversation in the u.s. because there's no one going to march into the building and try and prevent publication. so i think that allows for a material conversation in which we can say we will listen to you if you have specific concerns about things like operational methods. but they're broadly, i've
11:11 pm
found-- and i think janine's the same-- there are obvious things about people who are in the field or stuff -- things going down in iraq that we're just not going to go there. >> rose: with them? >> no, we're simply not going to publish that. >> rose: oh, so in other words if they had identified methods and sources that you knew could endanger somebody's life you would not have published it? >> of course not. >> rose: that prison presentation is 41 slides and we went to them and said-- i think we proposed to publish three and we said these are the three we're going to publish. of course they weren't thrilled, but there wasn't a specific security risk that they identified with those three and i think two days later -- one or two days later we published a fourth for clarity around this idea that it was claiming direct access to the servers of the tech companies. so we'd already made quite big decisions about 35 slides and what we thought they contained
11:12 pm
and whether or not -- whether they were necessary for the story. so you want to walk a line between what is the minimal information that we want to publish to give credence to this story, to demonstrate this story to reinforce this story and the maximum impact for the story. to enable the debate to be had. but without publishing things that don't need to be said. >> rose: so you published. have there been any other conversations since then with n.s.a. officials or anyone else in the u.s. government? >> i think it's -- janine is handling the u.s. end of things but it's ongoing. we have published, as you said, more today and so that's an ongoing conversation. >> rose: yeah, we talked to them regularly. >> rose: and the reason you believe it hasn't damaged u.s. national security is? >> well, i've seen no evidence that it's damaged u.s. national security. >> rose: in other words, there's been no consequences that you're aware of. >> right. i've heard some metrics but i've
11:13 pm
seen no evidence and what -- this stuff largely that we're publishing falls into a category where half the readers say "i knew that was happening, everybody knows that's happening" and the other half of the readers go "this is a disgrace, how can you reveal such a thing?" and somewhere in the middle of that line must be a reasonably comfortable place that goes "we should talk about this. this is a thing we should discuss." >> rose: i want both of you to define the debate that ought to be happening today in the united states, in great britain, about these issues. this balance which the president at one point called a false choice, this balance between security and freedom or liberty. >> well, i think what emerges to me from these documents is that what's happening in the security apparatus, it's the same in a newspaper, if you like. you have tremendous talented engineers who can do anything and they will always push to do
11:14 pm
more. so they'll say "we can do this, we can do this." and the ambition becomes to have 100% surveillance of everything. i mean, that's explicitly -- >> rose: the ambition is no everything. >> we want to scoop up everything. we want to be able to -- everything that happens digitally, whether it's a phone call, text message, facebook, google search, we want to have everything. we want to be able to store it forever. that will be the ultimate ambition. and -- the engineering bit. the legal built, is that what the law says? well, a lot of the lawmakers are coming out and saying well, when we passed the patriot act or whatever act in the u.k., that was for a different age. we weren't actually imagining we were passing laws for -- so there's the legal framework. there's the oversight framework: is matching up the laws and what you can do. but i think there's a bigger philosophical question which is this ability to scoop up 100% of
11:15 pm
everything all the time-- which they're not quite there yet but they will be soon-- i think snowden was saying was, well, that's a big thing for a society. what does that mean? and i can think of at least two things where -- which are both philosophical questions. someone the ability to report. reporting requires a transaction between a source and a reporter and if those transactions cannot be private, that's the end of investigatory reporting. that's something society ought to think about. and the other is protest. the ability to protest and to dissent from the economic or the environmental or the political system that we have and if these methods started to be used to anticipate or suppress or cut off forms of protest then you're moving into a kind of government a kind of surveillance which has no happy precedence in history.
11:16 pm
and i think what snowden was saying is from his desk he saw this happening and he just thought, that's what we ought to be discussing. and you can't have that debate without introducing facts into the public domain. >> rose: there is no evidence that you have seen that he had any other intent or motivation except to be driven by the idea you just suggested? >> we have no evidence. there is -- i mean, what he's clearly trying to do is to stay out -- is not to end up as bradley manning. >> rose: sure, i understand that now. but i'm talking about why he did it. you just said that edward snowden did this because he saw this looming big problem and he was so motivated to act in a public interest that he came forward. i'm saying do you -- now that all this has happened-- believe that that is his motivation and there was no other motivation? >> i have no other evidence to
11:17 pm
suggest he had any other motivation. and janine mentioned that we sent ewan mccaskell who is a -- he's a 60-something presbyterian scot who spent his life -- he's not easily impressed guy and he went out to hong kong and when he came back i said "okay, what did you make of him, ewan?" he said "well, i spent several hours with him and i liked him." >> rose: that's not what you want "i liked him." you want to know -- >> he's a man of few words. he said "i liked him and i think he is what he says he is." but, i mean -- he may not turn out to have those motives, but at the moment i think it's more fruit to feel actually look at the material and say what does that material speak to us of and i think most of the commentary i've seen around this says it's been value to have that material in public domain because it's been a good debate and it's a
11:18 pm
debate the president himself should welcome. >> there's one answer he gave on the online q&a that he did on "the guardian" web site where he was just talking to the readers and it was the answer that to me sounded most like a 29-year-old who'd been in a hotel room and was suddenly very aware of everything that had happened. somebody said "are you spying for the chinese?" he said "if i was spying for the chinese i'd be living in a palace pet ago phoenix." and it just had the ring of authenticity and you think, well i believe that. somebody else when we were checking this out early on somebody said to us "what happens with these guys? when these guys go rogue." that was gristled security person. he said "when these guys go rogue, they never do this, this isn't what they do. they call up some power and say "i want $10 million and a new identity and you never hear from them again." >> rose: there is a report that
11:19 pm
he said he got the job because he intended to do this. that the job with booz allen gave him more access. >> i think it was different access. that wasn't the quote he gave to us but i believe in that interview what he said was it was a different piece of the puzzle that he wanted to put together. but he had been working for the n.s.a. and the c.i.a. and related agencies for -- and their subcontractors for 10, 15 years. he had men are/of knowledge and material or experience of what the n.s.a. was doing that last job was it six to eight sfwhex. >> rose: why did he say "my intent was to get that job so i could do that? ?" >> he didn't say to me. >> rose: the profile writers talk about -- they look at him, they look at his experience and what he has said and they talk about ego looking for fame and all of that. is there an element of that in any way that you see based on what you know? >> well, again, you and who's --
11:20 pm
ewan, who's met him-- i haven't met him-- said he felt he was quite media shy. he felt he was not somebody v0> rose: i was going to throw that out but you beat me to it. (laughs) >> that's what ewan would say. he's a different kettle of fish from julian assange who's quite comfortable in the limelight that this guy, according to ewan not so much. that was not his point, he was -- he wants people to look at the material. he's not interested in becoming a great celebrity himself. so i'm told. >> rose: i think ewan who's spent probably -- glen who's spent probably the most of the time with him would say this is an ideological zeal. >> rose: not guest government but against the idea of overwhelming capacity to spy on your own citizens? >> i think the first time glen described him to me he said he is one of those guys who in high school could write amazing code. he's one of those guys who just
11:21 pm
always -- >> rose: that smart. >> always got the web. whether scholastics, whatever, but always got the web, always got the internet and felt that the sort so principles of the internet, the reason why it's there, the things that the internet -- the reason that this thing was built were being undermined. were being misused. were being used against these freedom of information and communication and freedom of expression and exchange of ideas that it was designed for. which i think tim said the other day. and it was interesting to see. >> rose: that the intent of the internet was not to provide for huge institution it is capacity to invade the privacy of other people. >> rose: it's all about communication and opening up. not watching. >> in has brought in so many different ideas which is good how many different ideas of society and security is
11:22 pm
obviously incredibly important. it's not the only thing that matters in society and so it's delight the people who are there to keep us safe have a very powerful voice in this. but many people think privacy is important. many people think freedom of expression and association are important. so these are the ideas as the president said that have to fight each other. >> rose: indeed, that's what the president did say. he said there has to be give on both ends. >> snowden comes from a very different place from greenwald. i would think snowden is more on the libertarian right and glen is probably on the libertarian left. so you have glenn beck saying this guy is a hero and mitt romney, al gore, tim burnsly, lots of people from parts of the spectrum saying we understand -- we share similar concerns about what is being unearthed here.
11:23 pm
it's not a left/right thing, i don't think. >> rose: what's the most extreme thick he has uncovered? is it -- i mean, the president will say the first -- there's been no invasion of the phone, we haven't listened in on anybody's phone. i want to make sure that we understand exactly what they were doing, the n.s.a., and whatever program we know so far and what they weren't doing. they're quick to say we were making sure that we could connect a phone call from someone who was a suspect on national security grounds to someone and we wanted to find out more. that's what we were looking for. it was that connect. the it more than that that they were doing that makes everybody who has a strong sense on the liberty side say no? >> and how do we find out? i think that's one of the things -- >> rose: how do we determine what they were doing? >> how do we determine what they were doing? because this relationship between the giant internet companies and the security
11:24 pm
companies is still not to me completely clear and the telecom companies. >> rose: and there's also this -- >> what are they storing? what are they looking at? the difference between the needle and the haystack. so you can start from a position that's saying the public has not grown up to discuss any of this and it ought to be left to congressional oversight. if you don't believe that then there is a role for the media to bring some of this into the public demain so that you have some of them to base that debate otherwise we're never going to know. and what's the relationship between what the american agencies are doing and what the british agencies are doing? >> rose: who's giving -- >> so we don't spy on our own people, but is that because we don't need to because they're going do that for us and we have a nice revolving door in the middle? these are questions that i think need to be explored, they really do. >> rose: what we're doing is we
11:25 pm
are reporting what we see as we see it. so we are finding documents, we are work out what they say, we're passing them and we are explaining what we think we found. we don't even begin to pretend to have yet reported the full size and scope of the n.s.a.s communications monitoring. even pretend to have yet reported the full size -- >> rose: do you know? >> i absolutely don't know the full size and scope of the n.s.a. >> rose: as much as you have and haven't reported it and snowden hasn't told you, you don't know. >> but asks ask it the other way around. we've been doing this for three weeks now. we bring out a document, we say what we see and then in order to stimulate a debate that everybody apparently welcomes from the president down but the question what is the full size and scope of the n.s.a. surveillance still hasn't been answered. >> rose: and ought to be part of
11:26 pm
the debate. >> how long are we going to do this before the question gets answered. the agencies say we can't discuss this because it's classified. this debate is classified. so we'll publish something then a little bit gets unclassified and discussed and then we publish something else and a little bit gets unclassified and discussed. if you want to get a sense of the size and scope of this activity then the people we should be asking is not edward snowden or "the guardian," we should being b asking congress to ask the n.s.a. >> rose: or we should be asking the n.s.a. i've invited -- keith houser has been on this program and i've invited him to come back and i hope he will come. the other question that comes up for me is when you look at all that has taken place what's the role of julian assange in all this? >> assange is associate -- assange has an associate sara harrison who helped him at the british embassy who i read has
11:27 pm
been traveling with snowden and i read that they have offered some legal help and but i don't know. >> rose: does it interest you that he may be heading for somewhere which has not a whole lot of respect for freedom of expression and liberty? >> well, i think that's the bradley manning question. i don't think he's going to ecuador or hong kong or russia because the civil liberties framework of those countries -- >> rose: because he doesn't want to the go to prison for what he has done. he doesn't want to go to prison. which is understandable, but it's not -- >> or he may -- i don't know. i don't want to channel him. it may be that he would like the debate to have been aired a bit more so that people can see at least what he was trying to say. there's a case in the u.k., a civil servant called clive punting he was a ministry of defense, civil servant, who leaked stuff the guardian, stood
11:28 pm
trial and he had no defense but the jury acquitted him. and that sort of punting moment which kind of happened with daniel ellsberg, you know, there was a hot pursuit of him and yet in the end it didn't work on more technical rounds. so it may be that he would like the debate to be out there so people can -- >> so he want there is to be more debate before he turns himself in? >> i don't know. you may know better, so i don't know sfwchlt >> well, okay, here's what we do know. we know that probably more than any other whistle blower in history edward snowden was incredibly clear eyed about what was going to happen to him. absolutely a product of his generation and the digital generation as well he knew all the stories of those that had gone before, he was well aware that he was not going to be able to remain hidden and covert and secret from the rest of his life
11:29 pm
and he wanted to control the narrative around his own exposure. he was very clear eyed about that. so that's why that you have dynamic at the beginning of the story when we publish lead the stories very rapidly, one after the other, before he revealed his own identity. we knew time on this -- this would be a race, that as soon as the n.s.a. realized there was a significant leak rather than just one document that there would be attempting to track down where it had come from and edward snowden was very clear he wanted to present his own method and reasons for doing this and why he was doing it before the discussion became about him being bullied in high school or what an overweight loser or whatever this thing becomes. so given that, give than he knew he was going to be identified and he knew he would be charged and he said "i step consequence of my actions, i know what they're going to be." >> rose: but what is he saying when he says that? i realize some people are going
11:30 pm
to be embarrassed, i realize i'm going to be -- he didn't say i accept the consequence of my actions which will mean i'm going to go to prison. >> i think he did say that that would be likely --. >> rose: that it's a possibility? >> right. >> rose: which he's seeking to avoid. >> well, there's a difference between knowing there that's a likelihood and actively seeking it out and hastening it. so i think he's probably attempting to remain at large. >> rose: would it change anything for "the guardian" and the "washington post," say, if you knew that he had been giving classified documents to the chinese or the russians? would it change anything? >> that would certainly change the way that he was regarded. >> rose: would it change how you acted? >> well, i think -- i think what we've done far is to report specific things which we think
11:31 pm
contribute to the debate that we think is important. in a sense i -- i'm sure janine's the same. you look at the material in front of you and you take a decision based on that material. actually, i don't think about snowden very much and i think all journalists face this moment with sources. quite often sources come in all shapes and sizes that someone disreputable they're on notice of doing things, some are bad, some are noble. that's what journalists work with. and as janine said, if you're sure of what who they are -- >> rose: well, you want you want to be sure the information they're providing you is not being taken. >> well, he's not putting these materials into the public domain. and i think probably if his motive was different select
11:32 pm
behaved -- there's nothing to stop him doing what julian assange did. he could have published all the stuff raw and he's not. >> rose: i'm also interested in whether as some people have a right to believe he might very well have given earl to the chinese or to some people who are -- act against americans' national interest. >> i think it's impossible for us to know, of course. >> rose: but you're more part of the conversation than i am. >> there is a great distinction that can get lost somehow in the swirl between giving information to a chinese media organization-- which he clearly has done-- and to the chinese government. >> rose: agreed. >> which i think he probably hasn't done. and the only reason i'm saying that is because he's left china. he is apparently so far as we can see in moscow airport holding pattern transit area and if he had given information to the chinese government he would be in a palace petting a phoenix
11:33 pm
is my guess. >> rose: we have a responsibility to report on him. >> rose: >> right. and our track record on that is evidence with assange and that's why assange and "the guardian" aren't best of friends because the moment he got into trouble in swedeen the first thing that nick davis, who was the reporter who had done that, he came into my office and he said "we have to absolutely report on everything being done this week. it must be no whiff that we're trying to cover that up." which i completely agreed with. and some people thought that was "the guardian" burning a source. i think to us it was saying we have to be seen to be independent of our source and we will do the same with edward snowden. >> rose: in the assange case you reported and that made him -- >> we were the first to reveal about all the allegations against him. we couldn't be in a situation where it looked as though "the guardian" was hiding this stuff. >> rose: did he then react negatively to you?
11:34 pm
>> he didn't appreciate it. >> rose: what does that mean "he didn't appreciate it"? >> he was angry with us. >> rose: were there consequences? >> well, it was one of the reasons it was a difficult relationship but i feel happy about that. i feel we had to do that. >> rose: one interesting thing, and i think the debate ought to happen and i'm hopeful that it will happen. one of the things that's interesting about this kind of thing by the nature of the way we all react there's more focus on edward snowden and sitting in an airport in moscow than there is with what the n.s.a. is doing correct? >> there were more reporters on the flight to cuba that he wasn't on than have written about the substantive issue. >> rose: exactly. >> but not in other parts of the world. i think the debate in the u.s. has been -- of course snowden is a great story. he's a fascinating character. if you go to germany the debate is very different. it is -- there's a country which
11:35 pm
has a very different idea of privacy and the role of the state for reasons that we can all understand. >> rose: of course. >> and it's on the front pages not so much because of snowden the character but because of the issues that he's raising and i think the same throughout europe. >> rose: the last question about snowden and i'm really asking what i've read or heard and you may not know anything more having read or heard it yourself is whether he has threatened and will use as kind of leverage material that he has that he has not released that might be more explosive than anything so far. >> i think he has said there is material that he has withheld from news organizations. i think he has been explicit in saying he went through the material he had and decided which he was going to make available to us in order that we could mine it for stories but also stuff that he decided to keep back because he felt it either wasn't in the public interest or was too contentious.
11:36 pm
so what his motives might be for doing that we can only guess. >> rose: what's the next turn of this wheel? >> well, the story of where that's going we have more material and we're going through that and we're not rushing over it because as janine said some of this is complicated and technical and some of it is quite -- quite a high level stuff. i think it's matters of policy and process and this interaction between technology and law and oversight and there will be more of it but we're not going to rush it in. >> rose: and what has it done for "the guardian." >> well, i hope people ask why it is we've done it. why he came to us. and i think one of the reasons is we are this funny organization that is --
11:37 pm
>> rose: supported by a trust. >> supported by a trust. completely independent and we're digital, we're open, we're global. i can't think of an american news organization that could have worked with glen greenwald in quite the way we have. and the think about greenwald is that, you know, this debate about whether he's a blogger or a journalist i think feels terribly old-fashioned. the point is he's a lawyer and when he writes about this it's incredibly technical and careful and that's i think why he went to greenwald not because he was -- his political views but he is somebody who can do justice from this material. he's going to treat it seriously. >> rose: thank you, good to see you. thank you. >> rose: it sounds like science fiction but it could be a reality by the middle of this century: technology that enable
11:38 pm
the transfer of human consciousness to a machine. a group of the world's leading scientist engineers, philosophers and religious figures interested in this thing gathered in new york city over the weekend of june 15 to discuss the very possibility. the event was called global future congress organized by russian nonprofit organization. that organization is called 2045 initiative. its main focus is the avatar project. it involves creating android robots, brain computer interfaces and other highly sophisticated only the. if successful it could extent live perhaps to the point of immortality if successful. we want to see what this ambitious undertaking is all about and here is what we have learned.
11:39 pm
>> immortality is innate. >> immortality research and immortality think willing often say that this is a pseudoscience which is not based on real science because it's not practical. >> people are not educated well enough, people don't know what what we're going to achieve well enough. >> or they will say something like beware of what you wish for because you'll be sorry for the consequences of immortality. (singing) >> my name is dmitry itzkov. my interest was human. my interest was myself. i'm always thinking why i'm
11:40 pm
around in this world. >> people like dmitry itzkov and others want civil development >> nobody knows what makes us humans. but we could extend our abilities very much and we could extent. >> and, in fact, it's like a continuum of possibilities from avatars that are very robotic with no feelings and consciousness to avatars that are as human as you or i.
11:41 pm
>> it develops and asks the question who we are and what is our nature. >> one of the things that would concern me is if you created an avatar-- and it's inevitable, it will happen-- and you're going to make it as human as possible that people don't download their own prejudices, their own hatreds, their own ideologies into this and perpetuate it. >> we need to make sure that having that kind of technology which we are developing will not kill humans. >> meaning how much are the avatars just an extension of ourselves or how much are the avatars their own thinking, feeling, conscious beings. >> nobody knows what is the perfect download. everything is unclear because
11:42 pm
imagine some of us immortal and with current level of human consciousness probably those two groups will just kill each other in just a few years. >> we're talking about the ethic of the inevitable here because these things are inevitable and it seems to me that we need to engage these things from our spiritual tradition and see what we can contribute. >> dmitry's avatar project, 2045 is very much like creating a humongous mirror through which all the human people can see each other in those avatars. >> hopefully they will be many people better than i that can continue that, that can probably be a team, you know and work on that mission in the future. >> rose: we were attracted to this story by a story about hit in the "new york times." joining me, dmitry itzkov, he is a russian tech entrepreneur and
11:43 pm
became a millionaire but something happened that led him to fund time and money to create immortar taety. david hanson is a robotics designer and engineer. his goal is to build robots that are self-aware and have the ability to engage in conversation and other things. here is hanson's award-winning android of the late science fiction writer philip k. dick. i am pleased to have all three of them at this table for the first time. welcome. great to see you. >> thank you. >> rose: so tell me about phillip k. dick. >> well, the science fiction writer foresaw a future where where mind and machine and human would be indistinguishable from each other but he characterized what defines human as compassion so if he can f we can realize machines with compassion, put our humanity in the machines then maybe we have a hope for a future that is less chaotic and
11:44 pm
uncertain and full of tragedy than our future might be. >> rose: what's true -- what's possible now? >> what's possible now is that we can make self-driving vehicles. we can make planes fly themselves. we can make some social robotics that create entertaining and perhaps useful interactions for things like autism therapy. but making sure machines that are fully conscious, well, that is the grand ambition in the world of artificial intelligence. >> rose: and with we're nowhere near that yet. >> nowhere near. >> rose: what do you dream of doing? >> i'm dreaming of liberating freedom the limits -- >> rose: from death, from? >> from death, from suffering, from limits of biology, from everything. >> rose: so the idea is you can live as long as you want to in your mind that's the goal? >> i think this option is a side effect. it's obviously a side effect.
11:45 pm
the idea is to help people to live this life longer and through this life accomplish their personal spiritual quest which is led them decide themselvess where to live longer or not and let them if they decide to leave this world, to leave this world with a satisfaction and feeling themselves spiritual. >> rose: is it your idea that if you can somehow transfer the brain to another place, some technological marvel, then you can create -- you would call it what? >> i call it full body prosthetics. >> rose: full body prosthetics. you can create that. and what do scientists tell you is possible about transferring the brain and are you recreating a brain or transferring a brain? >> first transferring then recreating. and transferring the consciousness to the recreated brain.
11:46 pm
>> rose: and how do you do that? >> obviously this is the quest and challenge for scientists but then we should have the demand to do that, to develop such kind of technology. that's why i'm working for them, i'm creating the -- i'm giving the vision and i'm creating the social demand for that sort of technology because obviously that technology could help. >> rose: how did you two meet? >> david is obviously known to produce state state-of-the-art technology in terms of robotics and there are just few people in this world that could do things similar to this one. >> rose: are you funding this in weiwei? >> i ordered a copy of myself from david. >> rose: what will you do with respect to dmitry? >> well, we're trying to create the greatest work that we've made yet. at the same time transition toward something that can be produced for wide use, for telepresence robotics. >> rose: what does that mean, telepresence robotics? >> well, it means like you're
11:47 pm
there seeing through the robot's eyes. it's like a teleportation experience. you put on a helmet or get into a chamber and you see through the robot's eyes. the robot moves like you move. it's as though you're instantly across an ocean. so these robots can be useful for medicine. for human patient simulators. there are many uses available for real uses today in addition to arts and entertainment, obviously. so by making these robots in this form, by making it manufactureable and make it as nuanced and sophisticated as possible the dmitry robot has more expressions than i've ever put into any robot. it is in a way the greatest ambition of my career to create a robot this life like and sophisticated. something that could be a vessel for a mind.
11:48 pm
you put the mind into it -- >> rose: you will put the mind into it by -- is this taking whatever level of artificial intelligence we now have and maximizing it? >> well, with the robots that i've built i have done artificial intelligence portraits of people where like with philip k. dick we can take his writings and put it into a corpus and then it sort of spools through those writings. we do these personality approximations. with a telepresence robot it is that person's own mind at a remote location controlling the robot. with the concept of mind uploading-- it's not possible today-- but you can create increasingly accurate software models of people's minds. it moves from artificial intelligence to real intelligence embodied within silicon. >> rose: ray carswell has been here at this program. i guess you both know him? >> of course. >> rose: he's interested in this
11:49 pm
>> he spoke with our college just yesterday. >> rose: who else spoke? who else were the scientists and engineers that came to speak. >> there was peter berger, doug church. >> rose: and what is the consensus that came out of the conference? >> you know, there wasn't any kind of resolution. but there was the agenda formed before the congress. everybody came to discuss the possibility of engineering the brain, creating the artificial brain of -- you know, creating neuroprosthetic technology which will allow us to restore, for example, the memory, to extend the life via the technology not biological but cyber netally. we disp. we discuss bide i don't know i can hands and other limbs. >> rose: i mean, there's an extraordinary amount of scientific development and we see it.
11:50 pm
"60 minutes" has done a number of reports at various times about different things in terms of being able to take the mind and have control of things. obviously, i'm not sure what the scientific term far is. but that's happening. that's a reality. you can move cursors and things like that by focus of your own concentration, correct? >> yes, absolutely. technology has produced many human-like behaviors in robots, walking robots, running robots, it's also created mind machine interfaces that for now allow you to restore hearing or control of prosthetic arm and these advances haven't stopped but have actually accelerated. there are more advances now more than ever thanks to the advances themselves, advances in computing, advances in algorithms and so the interesting thing is you can't predict what's going to happen.
11:51 pm
ten years ago you couldn't predict the great discoveries of this year but that didn't mean that they weren't going to happen. and so the interesting thing of visionaries like the original philip k. dick and like dmitry is be defining what might happen in a way, by speculating about what could happen you are providing a road map of dreams that influences the development of science and technology and sometimes realizes that dream. >> rose: tell me, what can you do -- is there anything you wanted to show us about philip. can dick? >> well, phil can see faces, so he's got cameras in the eyes and so in this lighting he has to be fairly close but once he gets you then he can track your face around pretty effectively. we also have a system that
11:52 pm
allows him to analyze your face for facial expressions and then with the facial expressions on his face he can either mimic your facial expressions -- >> rose: so if you smile he can smile? >> right, exactly. and he can sort of analyze and he can use those in the course of conversation to regulate that conversation. so there are many capabilities, human like in a sense, capabilities in the world of robotics but stitching these things together into into a total being that behaves like a person and thinks like a person is something that is new in the aspirations of artificial intelligence. it was the original goal of the field of artificial intelligence
11:53 pm
but only until the last 15 20, years have there been real definitions applied and only in the last five years have there been major goals and pushes towards the concept of artificial general intelligence. so. >> rose: did the "avatar" movie advance curiosity about this? >> certainly the movie "avatar." many movies, many science fiction movies have influenced these ideas. >> so what use would this have today? >> today, these days -- >> rose: so turn off the facial expressions. so that's the question that we explore with some of our researchers. autism research labs like the dallas autism treatment center and university of texas at arlington haass an ongoing autism treatment experience using robots, our robokind
11:54 pm
robots and in italy we have one of these human-like robots that is proving quite useful for autism treatment and therapy. medical mannequins for doctor training is a use. obviously's art uses such as the -- you know, works of animatronics at disney land. but but combining faces like this with walking android bodies and then using them in more real world like rescue applications it may actually be comforting, a more human like presence that can communicate more quickly and so a rescuer could control one of these robots remoatly and not have to put themselves in danger -- >> rose: i understand. this is what david segal of the "new york times" said about you. "at the age of 25 he started to have the symptoms of a mid-life crisis. he anticipated the regrets he
11:55 pm
might have as an old man, the musical instruments unlearned, the books unread, the standard span of 80 or so years suddenly seemed woefully inadequate. he was seeking out leaders from almost every religion in a search for purpose and peace. the more he contemplated the world, the more broken it seemed." any ethical considerations here? >> involving the avatar? >> rose: uh-huh. >> i would say that -- >> rose: however you want to characterize it. >> you know, the only ethics, i think, that should exist in this world is the ethics to help people to live and to get rid of suffering. to help each other. and the whole motivation on this project is to help people and sometimes people blame the we're somehow unethical by transferring -- >> rose: they say things like you're playing god. >> yeah, but god as they say, those religious play, they say god always helps human beings, so i'm trying to help.
11:56 pm
>> rose: thank you for coming, dmitry. david hanson, great to meet you. >> my pleasure. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
11:57 pm
11:58 pm
11:59 pm
12:00 am

107 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on